Monday, January 30, 2017

Review - Loose Ends #1 (@imagecomics)


"Jes' be patient, aight. I gotta handle somethin' first."

Tying up loose ends is a fool's errand of sorts, namely because there are typically more loose ends than can be dealt with. For some those loose ends are relatively harmless, but for others they're a lot more complex. In Loose Ends #1 from Image Comics, Sonny Gibson's loose ends are a little violent too. The issue is written by Jason Latour, illustrated by Chris Brunner and colored by Rico Renzi.

No one seemed to notice Sonny Gibson as he stepped back into “The Hideaway,” a dusty little honky-tonk nestled off the Carolina highway. But before the night was over, Sonny would be on the run—from the law, from the criminals, even from himself. It's a gritty, slow-cooked, Southern crime romance that follows a winding trail down Tobacco Road, through the war-torn streets of Baghdad, and into the bright lights and bloody gutters of South Florida.

There's a certain charm about the American south, although the way Latour tells it that charm is more of a hex of sorts. Latour introduces the plot through the eyes of Sonny Gibson, a seemingly knowledgeable reprobate with a past he's trying to escape. As things usually do in sleepy towns in the south, things quickly get worse for Sonny and Latour isn't shy about capitalizing on that to move the story forward. Latour's rendition of an area near Charlotte is one that's probably more realistic than most would like to admit, but it's that gritty realism that lends itself to making the tale more believable. There's also a slow burn as the plot unfolds with Latour creeping steadily along until hitting the gas and having everything escalate almost instantly.

Brunner does a brilliant job on the artwork, relying on thick line work to emphasize the characters against the backdrop. Sonny is depicted as being something of a scrawny fellow whose appearance belies his true capabilities and Brunner gives each of the characters around him distinct looks as well. The attention to detail in the scenery really draws the reader into Sonny's world as Brunner infuses each panel with a distinct level of realistic detail. The panels are framed as camera shots that Brunner capitalizes on to lend a cinematic quality to the work. Renzi's colors are vibrant and pop, adding some contrast to the otherwise depressing setting.

Loose Ends #1 is an ambitious first issue that is probably the definition of slow burn. Sonny Gibson is a very interesting character with an even more interesting past, both of which will lead to an intriguing tale. Latour's homage to southern culture is on full display in the issue and reflects a deep-seeded knowledge that comes with growing up with the culture. The artwork by Brunner is sufficiently grimy and captures the atmosphere well. Loose Ends #1 is a great start to a story that's roiled in mystery and violence.

Loose Ends #1 is available now.

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